Montreal Canadiens v Boston Bruins - Game Two

Weekend Watch: Five games you need to see

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This is the Weekend Watch. It’s a guide of what to watch this weekend.

Saturday: Boston at Montreal, 7pm ET

Let’s take time out of our busy lives (says the blogger) to thank the Habs and Bruins for always providing fresh storylines. With Chara vs. Pacioretty and the Perry Pearn firing both played out, the teams stepped up and gave us Subban vs. Marchand (plus the potential of Subban vs. Marchand II) and Bruins trade rumors — just in time for Saturday! Oh yeah, did we mention that Chara still might be facing criminal charges in Quebec? Because that is also happening. Boston-Montreal: The rivalry that keeps on giving.

Saturday: Pittsburgh at Toronto, 7pm ET

Big story here is who won’t be playing. For Pittsburgh: No Sidney Crosby, Brian Strait, Tyler Kennedy or Zbynek Michalek. For Toronto: No James Reimer, Colby Armstrong and a wait-and-see on Phil Kessel, classified as “a little banged up” by head coach Ron Wilson. By the way, if the Leafs win they could be in sole possession of second place in the Eastern Conference. And just three points back of Pittsburgh. With three games in hand. I know. I’m scared too.

Saturday: Carolina at Philadelphia, 7 pm ET

Everybody wants to see how Ilya Bryzgalov will follow-up Thursday’s 9-8 loss to the Jets, and that includes Ilya Bryzgalov. Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette already confirmed Bryz will get the start on Saturday, possibly because of how confidently he swaggered into practice this morning. (Unconfirmed reports claim the Bee Gees’ Night Fever was playing in the background.) Another thing to watch: How utterly inept Philly’s defense has become sans-Chris Pronger. The Flyers have allowed 15 goals in eight-and-a-half periods since their captain was lost to an eye injury.

Saturday: Washington at Vancouver, 10pm ET

I think this sign…

source:

…confirms there’s a legitimate goalie controversy in Vancouver right now.

Sunday: Los Angeles at Colorado, 5pm ET

You have to watch at least one Kings game this weekend, because it sounds like Drew Doughty will almost certainly return to action. LA Kings Insider Rich Hammond says he’s “expected” to play against Phoenix on Saturday but without 100 percent confirmation, we can’t in good faith recommend watching that game. ‘Cause what happens if Doughty doesn’t dress? You’re stuck watching the Coyotes, all because we told you to. You might never come back to PHT again.

Video: Canucks escape Arizona with another win for the moms

at Pepsi Center on February 9, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.
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With their mothers traveling on the road trip — Matt Bartkowski‘s mom, Beth, has become a cult hero in Vancouver after another priceless media interview — the Canucks took back-to-back wins, moving them right back into the thick of the playoff fight in the Western Conference.

After beating the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday, the Canucks held on for the 2-1 victory in Arizona on Wednesday, despite being without Brandon Sutter (broken jaw), Alex Edler (broken fibula) and Derek Dorsett, who was scratched from the lineup due to illness, as per Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy.

It was only a few days ago, following a home loss to the Calgary Flames, that it felt like the Canucks’ playoff hopes were essentially dashed. They fielded their healthiest lineup in months and couldn’t score and couldn’t win.

Two quick wins later, they’re two points out of a Wild Card spot in the West, despite getting outshot in Arizona.

Up by a goal in the third period, defenseman Alex Biega played the hero, pulling the puck out of the crease after it got by Ryan Miller on a backhand shot from Kyle Chipchura, maintaining Vancouver’s lead.

Phaneuf burned on Zetterberg game-winner in Sens debut

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A day after getting traded out of Toronto, Dion Phaneuf made his Ottawa Senators debut.

It ended with a 3-1 road loss for the Senators, and Phaneuf getting burned by Henrik Zetterberg on the eventual game winner early in the third period.

Zetterberg picked up the puck near the Ottawa blue line, beat Phaneuf to the outside, slipped the puck under the stick of the Sens’ newest blue liner and quickly roofed his shot on Craig Anderson.

“He made a real good play and you’ve got to give credit when credit is due,” Phaneuf told the Ottawa Sun.

“I put my stick there, he put (the puck) under and he made a good shot. I’ve got to have a better stick in that situation, but you’ve got to give him credit for that play.”

Phaneuf finished the night with a minus-one rating and two hits in almost 22 minutes of ice time, putting him second among Sens defensemen in that category behind Erik Karlsson, who played a whopping 33:30.

Phaneuf drilled Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser with a hard slap shot early in the third period.

DeKeyser played one more shift — all of 10 seconds — before exiting the game.

Video: Rangers shut out red-hot Sidney Crosby and the Penguins

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The New York Rangers are likely too far behind the Washington Capitals to take any legitimate run at the Atlantic Division down the stretch.

But winners now of four straight, the Rangers have opened up a bit of a gap between them and other Eastern Conference teams in the playoff race. New York scored a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners in six of their last seven games, on Wednesday.

In the process, they held a red-hot Sidney Crosby off the score sheet, which has been a difficult, sometimes impossible task for opposing teams since about the middle of December. He entered this game with a seven-game scoring streak.

(In fact, New York held No. 87 to without a shot on goal in the entire game.)

Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 34 shots he faced for the shutout.

Kevin Hayes gave the Rangers the lead in the first period, before Dominic Moore and Jesper Fast put the game away in the third.

Pittsburgh remains in the second Wild Card spot in the East. The Rangers now move three points clear of the rival Islanders for second in the Metropolitan.

Video: Wideman hearing ‘a tricky case’ as NHLPA hopes to get 20-game suspension reduced

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There is no certain timeline for when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman might rule on Dennis Wideman‘s appeal, according to a report from hockey insider Darren Dreger on NBCSN, as the Calgary Flames defenseman hopes to get his 20-game ban for hitting linesman Don Henderson reduced.

“Now, ultimately what they’re hoping from a Wideman perspective and the Players’ Association is that commissioner Gary Bettman will rule and he will reduce the number of games suspended down from 20,” said Dreger during a segment on NBCSN.

“Is he going to reduce it by three games? Five games seems a bit of a stretch. And when might he do that? There’s no timeline on this.”